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Thread: Hypothesis: People from warm climates have slow metabolims

  1. #1 Hypothesis: People from warm climates have slow metabolims 
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    One of my cousins comes from a place thats about 20 degrees hotter than where I live. One night my cousin came around and said that it was cold. My mother and I disagreed. Non of us wore highly insulating clothes.

    Since we are all warm blooded, the body must raise the metabolism in order to keep warm, and the opposite to keep cool. Is this correct? Do people in warmer climates have slower metabolisms? Does that mean that they live slower lives?


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    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    I think a more likely explanation is that we acclimate and adjust to the climate we're in. If we live in a cool climate, we adjust both physically and psychologically. Our bodies and our minds both simply get used to it. Then, when we're in a different climate all of a sudden, it seems that much more different, and we get cold (or hot) when others might not.

    So... we live in cold climate... hot seems hotter (until we again adjust or adapt to that). We live in a hot climate... cold seems colder (until we again adjust or adapt to that).


    Pretty sure metabolism is not the primary cause, but it could of course be an exception with you and your family... Hard to tell.


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    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    It takes time to acclimate to new environments, in some organisms this involves actual changes in what proteins and genes are expressed, in humans it tends to occur by the regulation of heart beat and the amount you sweat.

    I think inow is right that psychology plays a part too, because I've known people who have immigrated to Montreal and never seem to get used to the weather.
    "I almost went to bed
    without remembering
    the four white violets
    I put in the button-hole
    of your green sweater

    and how i kissed you then
    and you kissed me
    shy as though I'd
    never been your lover "
    - Leonard Cohen
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    As a kid there was a swiss coocoo clock that played an elaborated clockwork music every half hour of every day. No one in my family heard the tunes as if it did not play at all, while visitors would be annoyed. A stable dtinks but after a while its as if you no longer smell it. The first time i drive on a long trip it feels long, but after a few times i would sware it takes less time, maybe because rhe first time my attention is high every moment and after a few trips the attention level drops and im less aware*
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  6. #5  
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    This is interesting!

    I live in Texas, where it is often quite hot (100 degrees is fairly common in the summer). I however hide away safely with the air conditioners.

    Last summer I took a trip to Germany (where most buildings do not have air conditioners), and made some interesting observations.
    I played table tennis a little with some older folk (while I myself am very young, most of those I played with where at least 50, ranging up to 89), but had to quickly stop due to overheating, or would have to be very conservative in my movements.
    They found it funny that someone from Texas would suffer so badly in the heat.

    Another time, when with a lot of people outside late at night, many started to leave. I asked why they all had to go, and everyone said that it was getting to cold. I felt very comfortable, wearing a short sleeved shirt and jeans (while some of them had sweaters, although I think a few may have been wearing shorts).
    Evidently, I could tolerate the cold much better than the Germans.

    For this reason I concluded that it may be somewhat genetic-I included the references to air conditioners because I am not sure, and figured this could be important information that really should not be left out.
    The greater temperature control in Texas buildings should make me adapted to a much smaller range of temperatures than the Germans; I never experience temperatures quite as cold as they do in winter, and mostly enjoy relatively comfortable temperatures in the summer as I typically stay inside.
    I do often work out-when doing so cooling down is quite important.

    I do not think environmental differences can explain the difference in tolerance I experience compared to them, although I could have perhaps missed some important factors so this is not enough to make conclusions about importance of genetics in predetermining tolerance of heat and cold.
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  7. #6 Re: Hypothesis: People from warm climates have slow metaboli 
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldarney
    Since we are all warm blooded, the body must raise the metabolism in order to keep warm, and the opposite to keep cool. Is this correct?
    As has been alluded to above, probably not. metabolism goes up when we ingest food. We eat and our body breaks down the food and that response is thermogenic (neat term for you to look up if you're unsure). However, it seems unlikely that metabolism is tied to external temperature in the way you suggest, as the body still needs something to metabolize.


    Quote Originally Posted by Oldarney
    Do people in warmer climates have slower metabolisms? Does that mean that they live slower lives?
    Haha... Maybe they do, but it's not likely related to their metabolism levels. However, one thing about which I'm fairly certain... the climate we're in most likely DOES impact how our body metabolizes our stored fats. I'd be curious to hear from someone who is more knowledgeable on the topic.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Masters Degree Twit of wit's Avatar
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    My temperature perception is indeed shifted by several degrees in winter compared to summer. What is comfortable in winter is too cold in summer.

    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by Oldarney
    Since we are all warm blooded, the body must raise the metabolism in order to keep warm, and the opposite to keep cool. Is this correct?
    As has been alluded to above, probably not. metabolism goes up when we ingest food. We eat and our body breaks down the food and that response is thermogenic (neat term for you to look up if you're unsure). However, it seems unlikely that metabolism is tied to external temperature in the way you suggest, as the body still needs something to metabolize.
    Of course it needs something to metabolize, but it can metabolize more when it's cold just to keep the body warm. It would also explain why people feel less hungry when it's hot.
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    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Indeed. You're quite right. I should have found a way to make my intended point better.
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    A friend of mine is from India. He has been here for years - certainly enough to be acclimated. We walk together for exercise, and in the winter, he gets all bundled up with a hooded coat. He keeps wearing this after I have shed my hat and opened up my jacket to keep from getting overheated. He also has to eat a ridiculously low calorie diet to keep from gaining weight. He definitely has a slower metabolism than I do, but I don't know how typical that is.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    Back in 1986 my unit was deployed to Honduras and we partnered with the Honduran Army military police to patrol an airbase. When on the night shift, we used to pick up a Honduran PM who would ride in the back of our jeep and he would always be dressed in field jacket and with a wool blanket draped over him like a poncho... meanwhile, we'd be dressed in just our jungle fatigues with sleeves rolled up.

    Granted, it was their winter, but the temperature only dropped to the mid-seventies for a low even in February. I think it was the fact that we were stationed in Colorado Springs (FT Carson), which is where we were deployed from, so the weather was much, much warmer than what we enjoyed just weeks earlier.

    Still, to the Honduran PMs ("policia militar"), we were some sort of super-soldiers.
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